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Reviewed: Comand & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
Author: Chris Kim       Date: September 21st 1999
Page: 4


 
Final Breakdown

Gameplay:

Will provide a lot of fun for the gamer, however, the game is just too similar to Red Alert and doesn't take any steps forward. From all the steps that have been taken in the correct direction with way of real time strategy gaming, Tiberian Sun feels like a major pull back in time. It lacks a lot of the cool refinements that gamers have come to expect in other RTS games. Some of these refinements are enhanced mouse button assignment, rally points (there are rally points, but everything is hidden through keyboard commands), one step queuing, and other nice things. There are also, some cool features that make it worth while, such as deformable terrain, "veteran status" (same as experience based on kills), and less linear gameplay. A majority of the missions are quite similar depending on which campaign is played, mostly destroy, save, destroy type missions fill up the task block. The mission are scripted, but they are quite well designed and playability is excellent. The game is very well balanced between the GDI and NOD forces. The tank rush has been eliminated (yay!), but there are other rushes now such as disc thrower rush (doh!). Despite some major drawbacks of the game, it still is plenty of run to play, even though the player may have already been down that road.

Graphics:

Just about every game these days are switching over to the easier to see and manage isometric view over the top down perspective. The isometric view is a very refreshing break from the typical array of seeing from the top down perspective. This new isometric engine used in Tiberian Sun is quite effective and makes quite good use of it. The environments are clean, crisp, and sharp looking. They in turn give a very vibrant alive feeling which is good. The environment recreated is very realistic and believable. Explosions and special dynamic lighting effects are astronomical, they are so amazing that even games like System Shock 2 can compare to. However, there is a fault in the graphics, the smallish units are very pathetic looking for the infantry and units like the Wolverine. The animations are decent, but sometimes they don't seem to match what they move like in the FMV movies. Such infantry will just hit the ground right after being shot at in an instant, which is a bit odd. The larger units are much nicer, though. Units such as the Titan look great, they are very nicely animated and designed. Moreover, the total screen resolution is also only limited to a smallish 800x600 unless some editing is done to the sun.ini file, which isn't too user friendly, but anything at larger than 800x600, gameplay will get way too small to see anything. The FMV movies look excellent, though.

Sound and Music:

Huge disappointment in this area this time around. The previous Command & Conquer and Red Alert both proved to have excellent, original compositions which gave life and unique quality to the game. However, this time around barely audible music is heard which doesn't even sound too great. Most songs are just remixed version of songs from Red Alert and all too similar beats from old songs as well. The sound effects were also a bit laggish, they weren't bad, but they aren't good either. Many of the sound effects sound childish and not too highly sampled effects. The speech is the most impressive though, as with the previous FMV quality movies of the original games, James Earl Jones and others are back acting as commanders in the war. The unit speech gets horribly trite, though. Almost all acknowledgements are repeated over and over again.

Multiplayer:

Again nothing astronomical in terms of playability or new types of gameplay, but the multiplayer campaign can be a ton of fun. Free online match making is freely available through Westwood Online, their own personal match making service similar to that of Battle.net or Cavedog's own Boneyards.

AI Intelligence and Difficulty:

Similar to Red Alert, the AI has improved with every release, and Tiberian Sun is no exception. Only, the AI is still quite clumsy and dumb at times. More often than not, the player can have twenty Titans attacking an enemy building and a soldier will be right behind the building and not even turn around to look and see what was happening until after the player will attack that soldier. Dumb AI? Sure thing. On the positive note, the game AI can be adjusted from Easy to Hard difficulty, depending on how the game is customized. The game is not overly difficult, but not too easy at the same time. The balance of units, buildings, and technologies are very well balanced out. The path finding ability of units is very good for the most part, only a few qwirks here and there to fix.

Controls and Interface:

Players of the original Command & Conquer series will be extremely familiar with the interface found in Tiberian Sun, however, some refinements that have come to be expected in the newer RTS games are missing. For one thing, queuing units and buildings is not available, meaning that the player will have to periodically check back and make sure that the units are still being produced. The same old build then click again to place buildings form of interface is still there, not steamlined at all. There is the new addition of way points, which are kind of difficult to use, they assign spots on a route which a unit should take once they need to go somewhere. The right mouse button is still quite useless for anything other than unclicking on the selected unit. Often, when trying to click on a place to move, a unit will be selected because the left mouse button must be used for every single function.

Overall:

Provides some excellent fun, however, it falls short of all the hype that was brought up to be expected from a release like this. Command & Conquer fans will love it, but other RTS'ers who have grown accustomed to some of the newer and fancier enhancements and advancements in the RTS genre will be put back into old school days with this game, which some may like and some may not like.

Pluses (+)
  • New Graphics Engine Looks Nice
  • Fun to Play, Many Great Missions
  • Multiplayer is Stable and Fun
  • Great Balance of GDI and NOD Units
  • Minuses (-)
  • Too Many Missions Focus On Battle
  • Lack of Detail in Smallish Units
  • Sound is Disappointing
  • Interface Hasn't Been Improved Much
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    Added:  Tuesday, September 21, 1999
    Reviewer:  Chris Kim
    Score:
    Page: 4/4

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